[Turns out that we may not have had a scandal. After all]
There is a danger when folks are too quick in jumping to a conclusion. No matter who is fanning the flame for public reactions, it rarely works out.
I have been following Brampton’s homemade scandal for months. Certain elements on the city’s City Council had apparently decided that an egregious wrongdoing had occurred in the letting of a major contract for construction of a City hall expansion contract.
A well known local contractor felt that he had been treated “unfairly” in a bid process similar to the process used by Ontario Builds in letting major contracts to build major infrastructure such as hospitals. He felt so strongly about the issue that he launched a (still pending) lawsuit.
A faction on the elected City Council sided with the local contractor and asserted that former Mayor (Susan Fennell) had acted unfairly. To make matters even more interesting, a reporter with a large media outlet (the Star) took a quite partisan approach to the matter. At times, objectivity seemed to have no place. It always works out that way when we (as a friend told me) “have the hanging in the morning and then the trial after lunch”.
At this point, we have now spent a small fortune on investigations by integrity commissioners (2) and Chartered Accounting firms who have each been assigned the task of finding guilt. In the interim, an election took place and Mayor Fennell lost.
Word was just revealed (by the Brampton Guardian) that yet another audit is near completion. Interesting that the member of City Council (Sprovieri) who raised the motion to appointed auditor, George Rust D’Eye to dig up whatever scandal he could find has now told the media that there is no evidence of wrong doing.
Councilor Sprovieri is now in the unenviable position of launching his own attack on George Rust D’Eye or coming across as lacking good judgment himself.
The City Hall project amounted to a $250 project. There are likely winners and losers by way of Rust D’Eye’s audit. It probably is not good news for the local contractor who launched the law suit. On other side, I would hazard a guess that Fennell’s legal team is extremely happy. This latest exoneration of Fennell’s actions is the latest in a continuous stream of “third party” evidence that is likely to be heard when/if Fennell launches her civil actions against something that may simply have been an “old fashioned witch hunt”. The cost of settlement for libel and slander suits can be huge – especially when it is alleged that such acts were malicious and cost egregious reputation harm.
As it now stands, we wait to hear what (if anything) the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have to say about $5,000 in air travel that very well MAY not have broken any rules. There has never been an accusation that the travel was for anything but city business.
I would like to also be a fly-on-the-wall inside the Toronto Star’s legal office. Are they about to toss the errant reporter under the bus? At this point, it appears that the Star’s accuracy on the issues is similar to New England Patriot’s football – they each seem to be lacking air.